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Poster: RonPrice Date: Aug 26, 2007 7:51am
Forum: education Subject: Re: A Cross-Cultural Comment on Humour & Leacock

A PRELIMINARY TASK

In the fall of 1936, as the North American Baha’i community was planning its first formal teaching program(1937-1944), the famous Canadian humorist, author and retired professor of political science at McGill University Stephen Leacock went on his last speaking tour. Leacock went on to publish three books in 1937 and win the Governor General’s Award for his book My Discovery of the West. He was a prolific writer in his retirement and published many a book. In the last months of that Plan, a Plan that has had some importance in my own life, Leacock worked on his last book, his autobiography, The Boy I left Behind Me. But it was not completed. He died on 28 March 1944 some three weeks before the end of the Plan and less than 4 months before I was born. –Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 9 March 2007.

There’d been tentative anchorings
in Canada for twenty-five years1
by then, Stephen, after fifteen of
a chaotic admixture of all sorts of
stuff, a confused medley of beliefs.2

Your golden years Stephen, your
famous book, Sunshine Sketches,3
the same year He came to Montreal
for nine days and that vision of
world order gave a new momentum
as your fame grew but, still, you
were as busy as could be writing,
always writing and talking, always
talking so that when that great
transformation of the community
came(1937-1944), that great Plan
of teaching ended, your life was over.

A national identity4 was finally emerging--
or so it seems in retrospect, as you wrote
your life story and as I was just emerging
in utero, a fetus—and with that preliminary
task5 finished I would be among the rising
generation which would fulfil that vision
of America’s spiritual destiny.

1 1912 to 1937
2 1897-1912
3 1912-1825
4 According to Will van den Hoonaard, The Origins of the Baha’i Community in Canada, Wilfred Laurier UP, 1996, p.275.
5 Shoghi Effendi, Messages to America: 1932-1946, Wilmette, 1947, p.13.

Ron Price
9 March 2007
(updated for: Internet Archive Forums)
27/8/07